ENCDC, EPDP & UEJ Hold Public Meeting in Uppsala, Sweden
On 7 December 2019, a wide assemblage of Eritrean political organizations held a so far rare joint public meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, bringing together the coalition of 18 organizations in the Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change (ENCDC); the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) and Unity of Eritreans for Justice (UEJ).
According to a statement released to the media on 16 December by the Eritrean Association for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR), the public meeting was opened by welcoming remarks of Dr.Tedros Amanuel, the chairman of organizing civic association. Dr. Tedros highlighted the significance of joint work by prioritizing the agenda for the struggle. He said the invited organizations were among those Eritrean organizations which recently sent a joint protest letter to the Ethiopian Prime Minister on burning Eritrean issues. Dr. Tedros expected speakers at the panel to explain the reasons behind such joint message and their future plans to work together.
The speakers were Mr. Negash Osman, chairman of the ENCDC; Mr. Menghesteab Asmerom, head of EPDP Organizational Office, and Mr. Awet Abraha, chairman of the UEJ Branch in Sweden. Each of the three panelists spoke in turn to explain as to why the joint message was addressed to the Ethiopian leader. Their addresses were summarized in the EADHR press release as follows:
- That the peace accord between Eritrea and Ethiopia is not yet made clear to the peoples of the two countries;
- That the failure so far to implement the pledge of unconditionally accepting the Algiers’ Agreement and the ruling of the Boundary Commission, and the disturbing statements on the contrary by both leaders that the border issue is none of their priority;
- The Ethiopian leader’s speech at opening the ‘Unity Park’ in Addis Ababa claiming, in front of seven African heads of state, that he was speaking on behalf of both Eritrea and Ethiopia and unabashedly congratulating his people that the relations between the two countries are raised to the level of mandating him to speak on behalf of both;
- The Ethiopian leader’s claim that his “Med’demer” philosophy was aimed at bringing back “those” that broke-away from Ethiopia;
- The concerns raised earlier among Eritreans by Isaias Afeworki’s uncharacteristic and misplaced gestures of “love and affinity” in front of Ethiopian audiences, and his utterances claiming that Eritrea “lost nothing”; that those who consider Eritreans and Ethiopians as two separate peoples are ignorant of history etc.
The reprsentatives of ENCDC, EPDP and UEJ also agreed on their viewpoints about what is to be done in the near future. These views can also be summarized as follows:
- The three organizations are determined to priority and unify their efforts in the task of removing the dictatorial regime, and as of now working hand in clove to study and work out the processes in the equally important tasks in the transition from dictatorship to democratic governance.
- Underlined the importance of identifying common areas of work for political and civil society organizations.
- The three organizations also expressed their belief that organizations with similar programmes must merge, and those with significant differences to come to join work under working coalitions and umbrellas.
- They highlighted the need of joint work in the spheres of diplomacy, public awakening and mass media.
- Likewise, the three speakers pledged to never dwell on past experiences but only use them as lessons well learned.
The presentations were followed by lively discussion and Q & A session before the meeting heard closing remarks by the EADHR Chair, Dr. Tedros Amanuel, who thanked the panelists and the audience.